Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Our Greatest Failure...

Hey everybody. As you know many of my posts are steeped in humor and sarcasm. I want to make clear that this is not one of those posts. This is a serious subject about a horrific crime. I'm saying this because the entry is about a sexual assault and some people may want to stop reading. I will say that I have no intention of getting into any details whatsoever but I still recognize that subjects like this can be triggering. Because I'm in Oakland and this attack happened so close to where I'm currently located, I've decided to comment.

I'm not going to provide any details or links, if you haven't heard about it and are interested you will have to google it. All I will say is that a fifteen year old girl was sexually assaulted by several people outside a homecoming dance in Richmond, CA. In addition to the attack it appears that at least 10 people witnessed the event as spectators. I'm going to pause for a second...

I believe that events like this one reveal one of the greatest failures of the United States of America. This country has perpetuated an illusion that we have advanced the rights of women. There seems to be a collective view of shock and horror when examining the rights of women in certain countries around the world. There are atrocious things that women endure around the globe such as female circumcision, honor killings, and forced marriages of little girls. We should be horrified by these atrocities. It just feels to me that the judgment, our country makes about acts in other nations, carries an air of: "We would never allow such barbaric activities in our country". Now I recognize that there are nations that have laws that actually re-enforce horrific abuses of women. And I know that our nation has a lot of laws concerning violence against women. But let's forget for a moment that these attackers in Richmond will probably go to jail.

Let's instead ask ourselves: How often does this happen? Every week there is a new story that captures the national spotlight about some horrific act against a woman or girl. For every one of these stories you can bet there are hundreds if not thousands that don't grab national attention, not to mention the attacks that go unreported altogether. It is true that many of these attackers will be held accountable in some way, but it doesn't appear that we've done anything to prevent this type of violence. On the contrary, it seems that women are less safe today than forty years ago. I may be wrong, I'm not claiming to be an expert on this. However it seems very clear that there is a prevalent culture of sexual assault in this nation and it doesn't appear that any laws that have been enacted over the years, have done anything to change that.

And I believe this maybe society's greatest failure. Our total inability to create true equality in our nation. Equality is the basis for respect and an equalizer against hatred. And our country is like a snake oil salesman, selling us a line that we are in a nation where everyone is equals. Most of us don't buy it hook line and sinker but we do drink the Kook-Aid a little bit. We tell ourselves that things aren't as bad as other places. Tell that to this young girl in Richmond or the countless other women that are survivors of unspeakable violence in the United States. Sometimes I think things are just as barbaric here as they are anywhere else.

No comments:

Post a Comment